Millen, GA – The Southeast Produce Council has just announced an exceptional lineup of speakers for upcoming Southern Exposure: Produce – The Final Frontier. Blasting off March 3-5, 2022, at the Swan & Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida, this year’s conference will encompass SEPC Chairman Tim Graas’ platform – Inspiring Innovation Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow. The following guest speakers have joined SEPC’s Starfleet:
Celebrity Keynote Speaker – Kimberly Williams-Paisley
Kimberly Williams-Paisley is an actress, New York Times Best Selling author, Alzheimer’s advocate, and co-founder of non-profit, The Store, an organization in Nashville which aims to address food insecurity.
Her film credits include: Father of the Bride and its sequel as well as the recent Part 3ish mini-sequel, co-starring Steve Martin, Diane Keaton and Martin Short; Netflix’s The Christmas Chronicles and its sequel, The Christmas Chronicles 2, with Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn; We Are Marshall, opposite Matthew McConaughey; The War At Home, opposite Kathy Bates and Martin Sheen; Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Road Chip, co-starring Jason Lee and Tony Hale; How To Eat Fried Worms, opposite Tom Cavanagh.
Williams-Paisley’s memoir Where The Light Gets In: Losing My Mother Only to Find Her Again, chronicling her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease (Crown imprint, Penguin Random House), came out in 2016 and hit the New York Times Bestseller list. She was awarded a Champion Award in 2016 from the Alzheimer’s Association for her advocacy work dedicated to sharing her family’s story, funding research and supporting caregivers. Her annual Dance Party to End Alz in Nashville has raised over a million dollars in its first three years.
She is a global ambassador for CARE International, traveling to Haiti and Guatemala to follow U.S. funding for programs that support women and children, and then sharing her story back home, including engaging with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to help preserve global health funding. She is a spokesperson for CARE’s She Feeds the World partnership with the PepsiCo Foundation to address food insecurity and tackle gender inequality in the agriculture sector. In 2020, she joined Charlize Theron’s Together For Her campaign in partnership with CARE, to help deploy funds and support the global fight against domestic violence during the time of the Global Covid Pandemic.
In 2020, Williams-Paisley and her husband Brad Paisley opened their non-profit free, referral-based grocery called The Store. The Store aims to empower and dignify individuals and families seeking self-sufficiency by providing choices for their food needs. In association with Belmont University, The Store pivoted from its original model to disaster relief after its opening week last March when the tornados hit Nashville. During the pandemic, the organization moved to curb-side pickup and added a delivery service for homebound seniors. They’ve just surpassed one million meals donated and are currently serving five times the number of people they expected in their first year.
Industry Keynote Speaker – Sonia Lo
Sonia is an experienced AgTech industry executive who brings a wealth of experience scaling indoor agriculture operations. She has served as CEO of Sensei AG, Crop One Holdings, Inc. and various leadership roles including Google, and eZoka (which she co-founded). Lo currently also serves on the Board of Directors of Griffith Foods International, Urban-Gro, and Hart Dairy. Lo earned her bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in mathematics from Stanford University and an MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School. She also holds professional chef and pastry degrees from London and City College.
Southern Roots Luncheon Speaker – Heather “Lucky” Penney
Most widely recognized for her service on September 11, Heather “Lucky” Penney was part of the first wave of women who went directly into fighters from pilot training. The first and only woman in the 121st Fighter Squadron, Heather deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom for initial combat operations as a night-time SCUD Hunter in the western deserts of Iraq, also supporting Special Operations Forces. She flew the F-16 for ten years before having to make the difficult decision to leave the fighter aviation as a single mother. She then flew the special airlift mission and retired out of the Pentagon. For over ten years, Heather was a Director of various Air Force programs for Lockheed Martin. She is now a Senior Resident Fellow for the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, where she is an expert on defense policy issues related to airpower and the Air Force. She has raced jets at the Reno Air Races, and she continues to fly vintage aircraft.
“We are extremely proud and excited to have such an outstanding lineup of speakers for Southern Exposure: Produce – The Final Frontier. The SEPC team has stepped up its game again this year, and attendees will enjoy a double dose of keynote speakers, another first for our industry. To top it off, these three amazing ladies are sure to motivate, inspire, and challenge attendees to think outside the box all in an effort to build a better tomorrow. As Spock said, it would be ‘highly illogical’ for you to miss this one, so get signed up today!”
~ Tim Graas, SEPC Chairman of the Board
Executive Director of Produce Field Procurement of Associated Wholesale Grocers
Visit SEPC’s Southern Exposure webpage to discover mission assignments within the agenda, registration criteria, hotel information, guest speakers, exhibitors, and more!
About Southeast Produce Council
The Southeast Produce Council (SEPC) is a member-driven, non-profit association of more than 4,000 leaders from all facets of the produce industry. It was formed more than 20 years ago to promote the value of fresh fruits and vegetables in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Virginia through networking, innovation, community, and education. Today, SEPC is a thriving organization that continues to share and pursue its vision, mission, values, and goals. Learn more by visiting www.seproducecouncil.com.